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Zoonotic Disease
Echinococcus risk from imported beavers
  1. Roisin Campbell-Palmer1,
  2. Simon Girling2,
  3. Frank Rosell3,
  4. Pia Paulsen4 and
  5. Gidona Goodman5
  1. Conservation and Research Department, Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, 134 Corstorphine Road, Edinburgh EH12 6TS
  2. Veterinary Department, Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, 134 Corstorphine Road, Edinburgh EH12 6TS
  3. Department of Environment and Health Studies, Telemark University College, 3800 Bø i Telemark, Norway
  4. Norwegian Food Safety Authority, District Office for Nedre Telemark, Felles postmottak, Postboks 383, 2381 Brumunddal, Norway
  5. Wildlife Health Scotland, Exotic Animal and Wildlife Unit, Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, University of Edinburgh, Easter Bush Veterinary Centre, Roslin, Midlothian EH25 9RG
  1. e-mail: rcampbellpalmer{at}

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WE welcome the letter in Veterinary Record from Vic Simpson and Matt Hartley (December 24/31, 2011, vol 169, pp 689–690), which rightly raises the question of health screening in Eurasian beavers (Castor fiber) entering the UK. The issue of what health checks have been, are and should be in place raises important questions and considerations, particularly as beaver importation not only to Britain, but across Europe, has been prevalent and is considered a valuable conservation tool employed successfully to save this species from extinction.

The authors rightly state that unless the owners of captive collections act responsibly by submitting samples for ante- and postmortem screening, instances of non-native zoonotic diseases may go undetected. Imported wild mammals from Europe often undergo nothing more than the statutory rabies quarantine. Once in …

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